Addiction

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
I've become increasingly interested of late in the concept of addiction, construed widely,where addiction is (roughly speaking) repeatedly acting in a way that only fulfils one's first-order desires rather than second- or third-order, and so results in repeatedly doing things that one doesn't really want to do (although, in one sense, one does 'want' to, of course).

So, aside from the extremely obvious (heroin, cigarettes, extreme alcohol intake), I woudl suggest that modern life bombards us with possible addictions, to the point that it confuses and disorients so many people from what they really want that it leads to mass low-level unhappiness/search for 'meaning'.

So these addictions would be connected to...the internet, 'casual' sex, facebook/email/twitter, TV, 'fun' as a catch-all, uninterrogable excuse-word for flight from life, TV, dieting, low-level 'going down the pub most nights' alcoholism, holidaying to 'escape' or 'chill out'....and, more controversially perhaps, romantic love as a panacea.

Also, who has written well on this kind of thing?
 

viktorvaughn

New member
My mate worked on a Teens Hooked on Porn show for bbc - with internet it must be easy for people with no physical outlet for their desires (socially awkward teenagers) to come to relay on consuming images instead?
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Naomi Wolf wrote an article for the Guardian about this recently, as I recall. It had flaws, I thought, but was spot on on many issues about how constant porn (and general sexual/'perfect body' imagery) has transformed the nature of desire.
 

Sick Boy

All about pride and egos
Also, who has written well on this kind of thing?
William Burroughs made an entire career writing about just this. More on the angle of the addiction/need pyramid being analogous to virtually all systems of control. Perhaps not specifically relevant to the particular issues you are bringing up, but on a basic level of the generative and intrinsic nature of addiction, certainly.
 
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Sick Boy

All about pride and egos
From Burroughs' Deposition: Testimony Concerning A Sickness:

I have seen the exact manner in which the junk virus operates through fifteen years of addiction. The pyramid of junk, one level eating the level below (it is no accident that junk higher-ups are always fat and the addict in the street is always thin) right up to the top or tops since there are many junk pyramids feeding on peoples of the world and all built on basic principles of monopoly:


1--Never give anything away for nothing.
2--Never give more than you have to give (always catch
the buyer hungry and always make him wait).
3--Always take everything back if you possibly can.


The Pusher always gets it all back. The addict needs more and more junk to maintain a human form . . . buy off the Monkey.


Junk is the mold of monopoly and possession. The addict stands by while his junk legs carry him straight in on the junk beam to relapse. Junk is quantitative and accurately measurable. The more junk you use the less you have and the more you have the more you use. All the hallucinogen drugs are considered sacred by those who use them -- there are Peyote Cults and Bannisteria Cults, Hashish Cults and Mushroom Cults --"the Sacred Mushrooms of Mexico enable a man to see God" -- but no one ever suggested that junk is sacred. There are no opium cults. Opium is profane and quantitative like money. I have heard that there was one a beneficent non-habit-forming junk in India. It was called soma and is pictured as a beautiful blue tide. If soma ever existed the Pusher was there to bottle it and monopolize it and sell it and it turned into plain old time JUNK.


Junk is the ideal product . . . the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy. . . . The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client. He pays his staff in junk.


Junk yields a basic formula of "evil" virus: The Algebra of Need. The face of "evil" is always the face of total need. A dope fiend is a man in total need of dope. Beyond a certain frequency need knows absolutely no limit or control. In the words of total need: "Wouldn't you?" Yes you would. You would lie, cheat, inform on your friends, steal, do anything to satisfy total need. Because you would be in a state of total sickness, total possession, and not in a position to act in any other way. Dope fiends are sick people who cannot act other than they do. A rabid dog cannot choose but bite. Assuming a self-righteous position is nothing to the purpose unless your purpose be to keep the junk virus in operation. And junk is a big industry. I recall talking to an American who worked for the Aftosa Commission in Mexico. Six hundred a month plus expense account:


"How long will the epidemic last?" I inquired.


"As long as we can keep it going. . . . And yes . . . maybe the aftosa will break out in South America," he said dreamily.


If you wish to alter or annihilate a pyramid of numbers in a serial relation, you alter or remove the bottom number. If we wish to annihilate the junk pyramid, we must start with the bottom of the pyramid: the Addict in the Street, and stop tilting quixotically for the "higher ups" so called, all of whom are immediately replaceable. The addict in the street who must have junk to live is the one irreplaceable factor in the junk equation. When there are no more addicts to buy junk there will be no junk traffic. As long as junk need exists, someone will service it.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Thanks, that's interesting.

"2--Never give more than you have to give (always catch
the buyer hungry and always make him wait)."

Interestingly, some/many modern forms of addiction/addiction-engendering situations overload the 'buyer' with product, and feed the addiction with infinite choice (eg music, supermarket products, internet porn, casual sex), thereby disabling his/her ability to make a choice or stick with any one thing.* I suppose these feed ruthlessly on the human weakness of indecision/infidelity, while facebook and email and texting etc feed ruthlessly on another human weakness, that of insecurity.

Edit: Of course, infidelity and insecurity are intimately linked...

* and dating websites etc are extending this behaviour even into areas that many consider inviolable/semi-sacred.
 
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Sick Boy

All about pride and egos
A lot of consumer culture is the illusion of choice though I find. The supermarket is a good example because while the supermarket may be the size of an airport hanger with every conceivable imagining and re-imagining of brand name food products it won't change the fact you are still in a supermarket, and still paying roughly the same amount you'd pay in any supermarket across the world.
 

UFO over easy

online mahjong
baboon2004 said:
So these addictions would be connected to...the internet, 'casual' sex, facebook/email/twitter, TV, 'fun' as a catch-all, uninterrogable excuse-word for flight from life, TV, dieting, low-level 'going down the pub most nights' alcoholism, holidaying to 'escape' or 'chill out'....and, more controversially perhaps, romantic love as a panacea.
it would be really easy surely to include things which are widely regarded as positive as well though, depending on your outlook.. music, culture, the arts blah blah..

i suppose the extent to which you can justify their exclusion from lists like those is dependent on how able you feel you are to identify first/second/third order desires, or what it is that you really want to be doing, if such a thing is possible.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
A lot of consumer culture is the illusion of choice though I find. The supermarket is a good example because while the supermarket may be the size of an airport hanger with every conceivable imagining and re-imagining of brand name food products it won't change the fact you are still in a supermarket, and still paying roughly the same amount you'd pay in any supermarket across the world.
i always bear in mind the thoughts of a Hungarian ex-boyfriend of my ex(!), who'd grown up in east Hungary, and was flabbergasted by the increasing choice in Budapest (presumably even more now, 10 years on). The gist was "Why the fuck would anyone need 20 brands of toothpaste?"
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
it would be really easy surely to include things which are widely regarded as positive as well though, depending on your outlook.. music, culture, the arts blah blah..

i suppose the extent to which you can justify their exclusion from lists like those is dependent on how able you feel you are to identify first/second/third order desires, or what it is that you really want to be doing, if such a thing is possible.
I was more meaning the excess/misuse of such things (eg downloading music than one never gets round to listening to, watching TV shows that you know are shit and feeling unhappy with yourself afterwards, watching porn and realising you weren't really feeling that sexual anyways).

I am also particularly interested in the continual need to escape geographically from oneself/one's 'problems' (which may in fact be a euphemism for 'oneself'), as has been capitalised on hugely by the holiday/travel industry, and is so painfully obvious in the incessant 'why not?' nihilism of (my own) British culture.
 
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craner

Beast of Burden
I thought the Naomi Wolf article was fantastic when I read it, and her point, or at least her intervention, has massive implications. Pornography is a disaster. I don't mean this in the way Andrea Dworkin means it, exactly --- in fact, I'm not even sure what I mean. I have a libertarian bent on this, or used to anyway, but I can't help but sense that something is a bit wrong here. The ease of access, the glut, the encroachment into almost all aspects of society, the subjugation of physical intimacy to explicit imagery. And the sheer volume of stuff out there! (Which, of course, spirals down to actual crime networks.) It's distorting the collective libido! You know, try being chaste these days. Or a virgin. It's practically criminalised.
 
D

droid

Guest
And of course the normalisation of brutality, humiliation and physical violence against women... things may have been bad in Dworkin's time, but she'd shit a brick if she saw some of the stuff that goes on in 'mainstream' porn these days.
 
"Why the fuck would anyone need 20 brands of toothpaste?"
The excess of choice creates the need. I read somewhere (forgot where) that people addicted to internet porn often don't really masturbate more than casual users but spend hours and hours in search for the perfect video, downloading huge amounts but are never satisfied. So the overload is turned into a perceived scarcity.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
And of course the normalisation of brutality, humiliation and physical violence against women... things may have been bad in Dworkin's time, but she'd shit a brick if she saw some of the stuff that goes on in 'mainstream' porn these days.
did you see 'hole in my heart' by lukas moodysson? unwatchable in some ways (lack of narrative made it a trying watch), but the central idea (porn as legitimised emotional rape, to cackhandedly express it) fits in here.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
The excess of choice creates the need. I read somewhere (forgot where) that people addicted to internet porn often don't really masturbate more than casual users but spend hours and hours in search for the perfect video, downloading huge amounts but are never satisfied. So the overload is turned into a perceived scarcity.
really well expressed. always the sense that there is something better out there. it's the same for music downloading, i think.
 

Sick Boy

All about pride and egos
And of course the normalisation of brutality, humiliation and physical violence against women... things may have been bad in Dworkin's time, but she'd shit a brick if she saw some of the stuff that goes on in 'mainstream' porn these days.
You clearly haven't seen the type of porn where the woman dons high heels and crushes her male counterpart's ballbags underfoot.
 

BareBones

wheezy
You clearly haven't seen the type of porn where the woman dons high heels and crushes her male counterpart's ballbags underfoot.
is there a kind of implication in this sort of thing though, that the reason it's (apparently) so dirty and arousing is because the idea of a woman being in control of a man is perverse in itself?

i dunno, i've never seen it. I tend to stick to the 'japanese schoolgirl getting gangraped on the subway' kinda porn.
 

Sick Boy

All about pride and egos
is there a kind of implication in this sort of thing though, that the reason it's (apparently) so dirty and arousing is because the idea of a woman being in control of a man is perverse in itself?
That is a bit of a circular argument. I would go as far to say that it is likely the ball-crushing that out-perverts the woman in control bit. It is very possible the idea of porn involving a woman in control is erotic to men who like a woman in control because they find being in a submissive position erotic, not so different from women who like being in the same position (though obv. minus ballmashing). Not because the idea is just so ridi-cu-larse!

Though I find discussion of gender and race almost always devolves into oppression being an absolute and constant thing, whether latent or conscious, which I don't think is the case at all. See thread about pick-up artists for an example.
 
D

droid

Guest
You clearly haven't seen the type of porn where the woman dons high heels and crushes her male counterpart's ballbags underfoot.
How do you know! ;)

Theres always been subcultures - though again, this is a woman fulfilling a male fantasy of self-abuse - see also scrotum and penile expanding injections...

What I'm talking about is gang rape masquerading as group sex, 'choking', violent anal sex... all things that have become standard fare in the world of porn.
 

UFO over easy

online mahjong
I was more meaning the excess/misuse of such things (eg downloading music than one never gets round to listening to, watching TV shows that you know are shit and feeling unhappy with yourself afterwards, watching porn and realising you weren't really feeling that sexual anyways).

I am also particularly interested in the continual need to escape geographically from oneself/one's 'problems' (which may in fact be a euphemism for 'oneself'), as has been capitalised on hugely by the holiday/travel industry, and is so painfully obvious in the incessant 'why not?' nihilism of (my own) British culture.
I think though that if you're interested in escape, you can't just look at those things which are widely considered to be harmful when abused. So much of what we're sold is based in part on the idea of 'getting away from it all', whether it's cheap flights, sex or gallery membership. Advertising for all of those things plays on insecurity and feelings of inadequacy, and they could all be seen as a distraction from first order desire, even if they're not physically or emotionally harmful in the short term.

There's also more to be said on orders of desire... I would have thought that any definition of addiction which bases itself on that would have to go some way to explaining how those orders can be distinguished.
 
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